Reading an autobiography can be a rich and rewarding reading experience, which allows its readers insight to the intimate details of a person’s life as told from their personal perspective. The autobiographical work A Life That Matters by author Barry Robert Hartley not only serves to portray the intimate details his life but also enriches its readers by demonstrating an important life lesson – do not allow your past to determine your future. The author’s life story is proof positive that a rich and rewarding life is possible, regardless of your past and this is the message he wants to share with others through this book.

Mr. Hartley shares the intriguing story of his life in an unadulterated manner; he presents the raw hardships he endured as well as the good times and triumphs. His story spans the years from his difficult childhood of poverty and (at times) near starvation to his accomplished adult life as a successful international businessperson. Coming from humble beginnings, Barry Robert Hartley was born in Australia during the late 1930’s; he and his family lived in a log cabin in the rough Australian outback where they lived off the land and often struggled to survive. By reading the rekindled memories of Mr. Hartley’s adventurous life, the reader sees just how resilient he was as a youth by his milestones such as his first job, which was picking up manure after the local horse drawn milk cart. His often-difficult childhood caused him to grow up rather quickly, as he would take on the tasks of an adult; for example, at the age of ten he killed, cleaned and skinned a goat for the family to eat.

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Overall, I enjoyed the book; it is an engaging presentation of the author’s life, written in a laid-back style that is comforting, like talking with an old friend. The writing itself is not bogged down with the use of Australian colloquialisms (just enough to give it flavor) and the memories are clearly explained, relevant, well detailed and interesting. In addition, there are few pictures in the book and there should be more as he often refers to his travels and taking pictures of people or places; it would have been a nice addition to see more related pictures. By refusing to permit negative events to keep him at a low level; Mr. Hartley rose beyond his circumstances to become a loving and successful adult; in other words, he led and still leads, a life that matters. I recommend A life That Matters as a good mind - expanding read.